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Pope The Conflicted

thanksgiving-dinnerIt’s over! The big stuffed turkey with all the trimmings and our heartfelt thanks that we’re all alive and above ground. Went by like a flash, it did; and it’s back to same old, same old. Still, questions remain - questions of the human heart, the soul and our shifty pope.

“Be more Christ-like``, he tells everyone, creating a sense of instant guilt to most believers, especially at this time of year. Christ, of course, lived in complete poverty, was a friend of drunkards and sinners and, even when he was stoned, continued to heal the sick and give of Himself. This is a tough act to follow!

Be more Christ-like. Okay, we get that; but the question pops up: does this apply to the pope himself? It’s a question many of us have often asked (not publicly of course) and that continues to confuse us. The pope is the richest man on the planet, after all, so the question just seems to jump right out at us.

pope-benedictHow would one explain the following, for example, to a 10 year old who asks if being more Christ-like applies to the pope as well as to the rest of us?

According to the book, “The Vatican Billions” by Avro Manhattan, "The Vatican's treasure of solid gold has been estimated by the United Nations World Magazine to amount to several billion dollars. A large bulk of this is stored in gold ingots with the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank, while banks in England and Switzerland hold the rest.

But this is just a small portion of the wealth of the Vatican, which in the U.S. alone, is greater than that of the five wealthiest giant corporations of the country. When to that is added all the real estate, property, stocks and shares abroad, then the staggering wealth of the Catholic Church becomes so formidable as to defy any rational assessment. The Catholic Church is the biggest financial power, wealth accumulator and property owner in existence. It is a greater possessor of material riches than any other single institution, corporation, bank, giant trust, government or state of the whole globe. The pope, as the visible ruler of this immense amassment of wealth, is consequently the richest individual of the twentieth century.”

gold-bullionGiven this colossal wealth and the tremendous poverty throughout the world, doesn’t it stand to reason that the pope would spare a few gold nuggets to help the less fortunate? He can keep all his fancy robes and have a comfortable condo, say, to live in. Okay, even a house in a nice quiet part of town. But his gold nuggets? They got to go.


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